Friday, November 27, 2015

prayer diary Friday 27 November 2015

'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.' 
Luke 21.33

God's word is eternal. It's truth is for all people in all places; it does not alter for the fashions of the age.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

happy thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday. Interestingly, its one, I think, that immigrants 'fresh off the boat' have no trouble adopting with speed and enthusiasm. I remember as a child in New York going to a Thanksgiving dinner with my family at a friend's house when I was about five. The place was crammed with people - all Irish born adults with their children. Overwhelmed by the amazing turkey dinner with all the trimmings I engaged in some extravagant praise of our hostess:

'This is the best dinner ever!' I cried. 

She looked pleased. Ah yes, I had a way with words even then! Alas, I was still learning ... so I took things too far and added 'You really should learn to cook like this mom!'

My mother was decidedly cool with me on the way home. I tried to make amends by claiming I was just trying to be polite to our hostess, but no one was buying it, especially not my mom. Oh well; I'm sure she had forgiven me by the time I left home.

Of course, when we returned to Ireland a few years later, the holiday was pretty much forgotten. I think the next time it came up in conversation was when I was in Navy boot camp, nearly 20 years later. One of the other recruits - I'm thinking an Iowa farmboy, but I could be mis-remembering - asked how we celebrated Thanksgiving in Ireland.

'We don't,' I said, a little surprised he should ask.
'You don't?' he said, far more surprised than I. He peered at me earnestly through the thick-framed spectacles we called BC glasses.
'Of course not,' I said. 'Thanksgiving is an American holiday.'
He processed that for a while, his brow furrowed beneath the red stubble of his hair. Then he asked:
'So do you celebrate Christmas?'

Ah yes, happy days! 

I had great fun at Thanksgiving dinners during my times in the states and in the service. I have to say that things were made much simpler by the fact that I didn't go vegetarian until the final years of my time in uniform! But, of course, once back in Ireland the holiday went back into the mothballs of my mind as far as celebrating it was concerned. Still, I do make an effort to phone my one American friend living in Ireland to wish him a happy Thanksgiving - pretty much on the grounds that if I won't, who will? 

And this year I thought I'd do the same to all those out there reading the blog who are Americans - I know you have plenty at home who will as well, but I just thought I'd let you know there was someone in Ireland who is not only thinking of you, but knows what Thanksgiving is as well!

Therefore, from Ireland, may I wish you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! 

different days

We are truly living in interesting times. Who would have thought the day would come when the Preacher of Papal Household would be addressing the General Synod of the Church of England ... with Queen Elizabeth II in attendance? Or that he be saying stuff like this:

Justification by faith, for example, ought to be preached by the whole Church—and with more vigour than ever. Not in opposition to good works – the issue is already settled - but rather in opposition to the claim of people today that they can save themselves thanks to their science, technology or their man-made spirituality, without the need for a redeemer coming from outside humanity. Self-justification! I am convinced that if they were alive today this is the way Martin Luther and Thomas Cranmer would preach justification through faith!

You can read the rest of what Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa had to say to those gathered here

prayer diary Thursday 26 November 2015

'They will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory.' 
Luke 21.27

Christ will come again. But we know not when. Therefore live as if it might be the very next moment from now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

prayer diary Wednesday 25 November 2015

'They will arrest you and persecute you … will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify.' 
Luke 21.13,14

The world has always been hostile to the message of Christ. Do not fear to preach it boldly, nonetheless, for this is your chance to be a witness to the faith.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sacrilege in Pamplona

A so-called artist in Spain has acquired by nefarious means numerous consecrated hosts and put them on show in Pamplona in a profane display. I will not speak further of what he has done. If you wish read more, you may go here. I would ask that you help end this act of sacrilege by going here to sign the online petition calling for an end to it. 

Please pray for this man, those who permitted this to take place, and those who visit to take pleasure in the mockery being made of the Blessed Sacrament; and that the authorities of this city will end this now. 

Note: credit to Dom Mark Kirby of Silverstream Priory whose post brought on this brought it to my attention

Banned in UK cinema's: the Lord's Prayer

You can file this one under 'oh, come on now! Seriously?'

Anything goes down at your local multiplex these days - anything except prayer apparently. Not a prayer meeting before the big screen, but as part of an ad up on it, paid for like any other ad. The company in charge of cinema advertising in Britain says it wouldn't want to 'cause offence' and it is their policy to refuse such ads. 

The Church of England wants to encourage prayer. How does one do such a thing in this modern age? Well the good old Cof E thought 'let's do this modern. Let's hit the internet, the social media. Heck, let's splash out on an advertising campaign. Hey, local cinema - how much to run an ad in your fine establishment?'
'A religious ad?' cried they, shrinking away in horror, like a vampire from the light. 'I know we'll promote just about anything we can think on our screens that is contrary to the teachings of your faith. But we have to draw the line somewhere! And anyway, it's against our policy!'

When asked for a copy of the policy, the company couldn't provide one. Apparently it didn't exist. At least not in writing. Not when they refused to carry the ad. Apparently they put something up on their website afterwards. 

An unwritten policy that no one has every heard of until they refuse someone's ad on the basis of it? No, that doesn't sound a bit fishy ...

The British Secular Society said if was arrogant of the Church of England to try and foist their views on a captive cinema audience. Excuse me, but isn't that what advertisers do in cinemas? Pay to put their message out to a particular audience, irrespective of whether the audience cares to see it or not? I certainly don't recall ever being asked about what ads I might care to watch along with my movie when purchasing a ticket!

Silver lining: the controversy over the refusal is garnering more attention for the campaign than the ad ever would have probably. Good to know that the old 'down with this sort of thing' works in reverse. 

But still, if having to sit through a recitation of the Our Father in a country whose culture is rooted in the Christian religion is now considered a danger to 'Those Who Easily Take Offense & Indeed Choose to Take Offense at Every Available Opportunity' (tm) the question is: where next for I will be offended brigade? Banning the Bible from bookshops in case someone should walk by the shelf, or indeed the store, and take offense? 

After all, the Lord's Prayer is in the Bible ...